Author Topic: Is Private College worth it?  (Read 7072 times)

Money Ronin

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Is Private College worth it?
« on: September 15, 2019, 05:05:32 PM »
Financial Samurai recently referred to this article (https://www.financialsamurai.com/the-wide-implications-of-the-college-admissions-bribery-scandal/) in his newsletter, and it got me thinking about this question again.  Any studies on the subject would be especially appreciated.

I'm the product product of public education from kindergarten through graduate school, but I didn't have a choice.  I guess I can also be proud about not having healthcare insurance as a child--that wasn't a choice either.  My parents saved a ton of money in both instances.  Is a private education, especially college, a waste of money?  You know, like health insurance.  ;)

To me, private school at any age is a bit like of an insurance policy.  It is intended to help kids get into a a better school or program at the next level, whether that next level is private or public.  The rat race starts with preschool where parents are jockeying for an advantage when its time to apply for kindergarten.  The education rat rate ends, maybe, when they get into a good college.

I currently send my kids to a parochial school that costs $12,000 per year because the quality of education and the parents are more involved.  They could have gone to a fairly top notch public school which on the surface demands a lot of parent involvement and support, but there are plenty of freeloaders.  At public schools, independent of wealth, there are parents who just refuse to contribute time or money.  There are also plenty of $30,000 per year elite private options in my area--but no way I'm doing that for 13 years.

I will likely keep them in this private school option through high school because the public high school is horrendous--not even close in quality.  We have contemplated moving to a better high school district but decided that would be too disruptive to our social/professional network and the kids'.  I treat this decision like a luxury item in the same way that some friends have a vacation home or drive luxury cars.  We are paying a premium to stay put.

For college, I would prefer my kids attend a top state college (e.g., UCLA, UC Berkeley, Michigan, etc.) over an elite private college (e.g., Stanford, Harvard, Yale) assuming they made it into both.  Affordable is a subjective term, but I think we could afford the private option.  But is it worth it?  What does one get out of a private education that they do not in a public education?  Are the "connections" made or the name recognition worth it?

I have heard USC alumni openly offer jobs to other alumni just because they went to the same school.  They will flatly pick an USC candidate over other perhaps more qualified candidates.  That is the schools' expectation and culture.  Granted, I would not consider USC an elite private school, but is this typical of other private schools?  This type of behavior goes against my own moral code so this "advantage" is not attractive for me, but I'd like to understand reality because I live in this fantasy world where people get by on merit.

Sydney

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Re: Is Private College worth it?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2019, 11:55:12 PM »
I went to public school from Kindergarten through 10th grade. For the most part, things were good. Our public school system had an accelerated/gifted program, which I placed into during elementary school. This really kept me challenged, which was great. My sister started out at a different public school system that didn't have one and she was so bored in school she couldn't stand it. Things got so much better for her once we moved and she was able to take accelerated classes. Not all public school systems offer programs like this, so that's something to consider if your kids could benefit from them.

Public versus private for K-12 is such a complex topic because so much depends on the state, city, residential districts, parents. In my particular case, by the time I got to 10th grade I was miserable. Even though our public schools in my city had multiple elementary schools and middle schools, everyone in the city went to one high school. There were just too many kids and too much violence. I didn't feel safe and had to literally dodge fist fights in the halls. I managed to get a scholarship and financial aid to a private school to complete 11th and 12th grade and it was the best gift my parents gave me. I gained so much more confidence, had no more fears of violence or bullies and the facilities were incredible. Did I need 13 years of private school, no. But did I really benefit from 2 years of private school, yes.

As for college, private was simply unaffordable for my family and I. I applied to 1 private school anyway in hopes I might get a scholarship and financial aid, but I wasn't accepted - I think a true blessing in disguise. I went to a public state school and it was wonderful.

All in all, I think public K-12 is a great path if the choices available in your area have great teachers, no bullying, and classes that keep your kids engaged and excited about going to school.

And as for college, I don't think private is necessary at all. Of course there are great private colleges, but the costs are outrageous. Public for college is such a different experience than grade school too imo. There are so many great state schools to choose from and you don't have to worry about living in a certain neighborhood to be eligible.

Money Ronin

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Re: Is Private College worth it?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 10:17:58 PM »
Thanks for sharing your experience.  My kids have attended a small private school from K through 6th so far in large part because the public school in our neighborhood did not tailor their education to anybody.  Depending upon the teacher, they taught to the average or the lowest performer (no child left behind). 

I don't think my kids can survive in the "general population" because violence/aggression/bullying/drugs/video games/dress code are so closely monitored at their current school.  Of course, this makes me concerned for the day that they need to face the real world.

I went to public school from Kindergarten through 10th grade. For the most part, things were good. Our public school system had an accelerated/gifted program, which I placed into during elementary school. This really kept me challenged, which was great. My sister started out at a different public school system that didn't have one and she was so bored in school she couldn't stand it. Things got so much better for her once we moved and she was able to take accelerated classes. Not all public school systems offer programs like this, so that's something to consider if your kids could benefit from them.

Public versus private for K-12 is such a complex topic because so much depends on the state, city, residential districts, parents. In my particular case, by the time I got to 10th grade I was miserable. Even though our public schools in my city had multiple elementary schools and middle schools, everyone in the city went to one high school. There were just too many kids and too much violence. I didn't feel safe and had to literally dodge fist fights in the halls. I managed to get a scholarship and financial aid to a private school to complete 11th and 12th grade and it was the best gift my parents gave me. I gained so much more confidence, had no more fears of violence or bullies and the facilities were incredible. Did I need 13 years of private school, no. But did I really benefit from 2 years of private school, yes.

As for college, private was simply unaffordable for my family and I. I applied to 1 private school anyway in hopes I might get a scholarship and financial aid, but I wasn't accepted - I think a true blessing in disguise. I went to a public state school and it was wonderful.

All in all, I think public K-12 is a great path if the choices available in your area have great teachers, no bullying, and classes that keep your kids engaged and excited about going to school.

And as for college, I don't think private is necessary at all. Of course there are great private colleges, but the costs are outrageous. Public for college is such a different experience than grade school too imo. There are so many great state schools to choose from and you don't have to worry about living in a certain neighborhood to be eligible.

Sam

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Re: Is Private College worth it?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2019, 09:11:20 PM »
Thanks for sharing your experience.  My kids have attended a small private school from K through 6th so far in large part because the public school in our neighborhood did not tailor their education to anybody.  Depending upon the teacher, they taught to the average or the lowest performer (no child left behind). 

I don't think my kids can survive in the "general population" because violence/aggression/bullying/drugs/video games/dress code are so closely monitored at their current school.  Of course, this makes me concerned for the day that they need to face the real world.

I went to public school from Kindergarten through 10th grade. For the most part, things were good. Our public school system had an accelerated/gifted program, which I placed into during elementary school. This really kept me challenged, which was great. My sister started out at a different public school system that didn't have one and she was so bored in school she couldn't stand it. Things got so much better for her once we moved and she was able to take accelerated classes. Not all public school systems offer programs like this, so that's something to consider if your kids could benefit from them.

Public versus private for K-12 is such a complex topic because so much depends on the state, city, residential districts, parents. In my particular case, by the time I got to 10th grade I was miserable. Even though our public schools in my city had multiple elementary schools and middle schools, everyone in the city went to one high school. There were just too many kids and too much violence. I didn't feel safe and had to literally dodge fist fights in the halls. I managed to get a scholarship and financial aid to a private school to complete 11th and 12th grade and it was the best gift my parents gave me. I gained so much more confidence, had no more fears of violence or bullies and the facilities were incredible. Did I need 13 years of private school, no. But did I really benefit from 2 years of private school, yes.

As for college, private was simply unaffordable for my family and I. I applied to 1 private school anyway in hopes I might get a scholarship and financial aid, but I wasn't accepted - I think a true blessing in disguise. I went to a public state school and it was wonderful.

All in all, I think public K-12 is a great path if the choices available in your area have great teachers, no bullying, and classes that keep your kids engaged and excited about going to school.

And as for college, I don't think private is necessary at all. Of course there are great private colleges, but the costs are outrageous. Public for college is such a different experience than grade school too imo. There are so many great state schools to choose from and you don't have to worry about living in a certain neighborhood to be eligible.

 Someone said something very interesting one day. “All the violence one will see will be in public school.”

For me, that is almost correct.
Regards,

Sam

SteveGood

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Re: Is Private College worth it?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2020, 09:21:28 PM »
I think private schools and colleges are the best for education to compare with public schools and colleges.

Sam

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Re: Is Private College worth it?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2020, 06:48:36 PM »
I'd much rather have a check for the difference between private school tuition and public school tuition!
Regards,

Sam

Nigel

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Re: Is Private College worth it?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2020, 06:40:28 AM »
In my opinion, and that's all it is, the only private universities worth the money are the very very top ones: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, CalTech...and it's not the education but the networking.  You are far more likely to be the roommate of the next Bill Gates or Zuckerberg in these schools than a public school.

Also these top universities have far better funded incubators and VC interest.

https://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/the-billionaire-factory-why-stanford-university-produces-so-many-celebrated-web-entrepreneurs-8706573.html

So the answer is "its worth it" for top self-driven kids to go to these ultra top tier universities.  It's not that the top kids at Stanford or MIT are necessarily that much smarter than the top kids at UIUC, UVA or UMD but that the density of smart kids is far higher even in comparison to the top public schools.  Almost everyone your kids will interact with is a top tier competitor...even if their area of competition is "merely" inheriting large sums of money and can fund your startup because why not?

The cheaper path is to go to a top tier public university and move to Stanford or MIT for grad school.  You miss out on being besties with the jet set roommate but you get most of the professional networking benefits.  Going to lower tier ivies you pay the same amount (sometimes more) as Harvard without the same networking benefits.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 06:43:00 AM by Nigel »

Nigel

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Re: Is Private College worth it?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2020, 06:55:23 AM »
Thanks for sharing your experience.  My kids have attended a small private school from K through 6th so far in large part because the public school in our neighborhood did not tailor their education to anybody.  Depending upon the teacher, they taught to the average or the lowest performer (no child left behind). 

I don't think my kids can survive in the "general population" because violence/aggression/bullying/drugs/video games/dress code are so closely monitored at their current school.  Of course, this makes me concerned for the day that they need to face the real world.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/private-school-pupils-drug-alcohol-addictions-more-likely-new-research-money-fake-id-a7766951.html

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/d3away/drug-use-private-school-uk-cocaine

I have an acquaintance with a kid at St. Albans...he was complaining he had a thousand dollar uber bill because his kid would uber home during the week rather than stay to get some home cooking.  1%er problems I guess but don't be so sure private schools are "secure" except on the surface.  I wouldn't say anything goes but the kids are very adept at evading controls and administrators have a vested interest in NOT finding problems or hiding them.  Most of the times families will be complicit and help hide issues to avoid embarrassment.

david123

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Re: Is Private College worth it?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2020, 09:59:38 AM »
To me, the debate isn't public vs. private college.  There are some very good public schools and some very good private schools.  I do think it matters what school you go to, and you should go to the best school you can.  At the same time, I view college as an investment, so you need to measure your return on that investment.  I live in the midwest, and my daughter was looking at Northwestern (private), Michigan (public), Wisconsin (public), and Illinois (public).  All very good schools.  Being Illinois residents, it going to Illinois was the best "investment" (best school for most reasonable cost).

I always think when you are interviewing for a job, if the interviewer has never heard of your college, that is a bad thing.

supportingmaps

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Re: Is Private College worth it?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2020, 09:48:24 AM »
In my opinion, and that's all it is, the only private universities worth the money are the very very top ones: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, CalTech...and it's not the education but the networking.  You are far more likely to be the roommate of the next Bill Gates or Zuckerberg in these schools than a public school.

Also these top universities have far better funded incubators and VC interest.

https://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/the-billionaire-factory-why-stanford-university-produces-so-many-celebrated-web-entrepreneurs-8706573.html

So the answer is "its worth it" for top self-driven kids to go to these ultra top tier universities.  It's not that the top kids at Stanford or MIT are necessarily that much smarter than the top kids at UIUC, UVA or UMD but that the density of smart kids is far higher even in comparison to the top public schools.  Almost everyone your kids will interact with is a top tier competitor...even if their area of competition is "merely" inheriting large sums of money and can fund your startup because why not?

The cheaper path is to go to a top tier public university and move to Stanford or MIT for grad school.  You miss out on being besties with the jet set roommate but you get most of the professional networking benefits.  Going to lower tier ivies you pay the same amount (sometimes more) as Harvard without the same networking benefits.

I'm currently a student at Lambda School and given how fast the world is evolving generally speaking I don't think college is worth it. Not to come across as bragging but I was in a private college and graduated with a 3.5 GPA and was in my STEM major's honors program for 3 years as well as the university's general honors program for the full 4 years. Most of the content I learned I'm not using in my everyday life and the internet has made education cheap. Khan Academy, Github, Youtube, Open Library, etc.

However, a common theme in this thread is networking with bright, young people that's maybe one of the few reasons going to college is worth it. The quoted post hit home with me because it's true. I'm really busy but there's a gentleman on Twitter who emphasizes credentalism is an outdated way of thinking. His name has been on the tip of my tongue for weeks.

Even with networking, I have my own tricks of reaching out to people. I help out small mom and pop shops with my site and everybody has a favorite little business they frequent they would want to support. Twitter is a great way to reach out to people to read their thoughts and pick their brains. Before Covid 19 shut everything down I went to boxing classes for the added benefit of networking with people that could help my career. Some people aren't as keen to opening up when we're younger (like myself) but as we get older we get a little more outgoing.
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supportingmaps

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Re: Is Private College worth it?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2020, 01:23:05 PM »
I didn't want to start a new thread just for this article so I'll post on this one.

I found this article today and here's an opportunity for you all:

https://kstp.com/coronavirus/interest-in-homeschooling-has-exploded-amid-pandemic/5824134/?cat=12678

Apparently parents are looking for homeschooling options. I just spent the past 2 hours cold emailing homeschooling groups offering to teach kids how to program. Something to add to my resume and it may lead to me getting a job since a parent could be a hiring manager.
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